Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, spoke on the theme of ‘What is family law? – securing social justice for children and young people
’ at the Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lecture Series 2017/18. The speech looked at current issues regarding children’s welfare and explored the objectives to which family justice reform should be aimed.
Sir James described how Eleanor Rathbone, President of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship, was one of the foremost family law reformers of the middle-twentieth century.
He addressed the question of what is family law in the light of the ‘enormous and very profound changes in family life in recent decades’, giving recent, well-publicised examples of where the system has failed children and teenagers in care.
He concluded that the family justice system needs to ‘create a one-stop shop in an enhanced, re-vamped family court capable of dealing holistically…with all a family’s problems, whatever they may be’.
This means, he said, ‘dealing holistically with the family court’s traditional concerns with status, relationship breakdown and family finances, and more widely, and ultimately more importantly, dealing holistically with all the multiple difficulties and deprivations –
economic, social, educational, employment, housing and health (whether physical or mental) –
to which so many children and their families are victim’.
The system’s ultimate aim, he stressed, must be about ‘securing social justice for children and their families’.
Read the speech in full here